Archive for the ‘Bloopers’ Category
Note to Messrs. Martin O’Neill and Ellis Short
I know I haven’t written much about the club recently, or it’s new fully American ownership and business plan, but the season lurched from disaster to comfort before slipping towards the nervy end of the scale again as mid season promise withered away. There will need to be some rebuilding of the squad at The Stadium of Light before the next season begins at Arsenal, Gyan will be gone along with Craig Gordon and three or four others, Sessignon may be difficult to hold on to, but it is imperative that we pull all of the stops out to keep him. The two of you don’t need me to remind you that we have not had a consistent goal scorer since Bent was tempted by huge wages. It will also be important to try and keep Bryan “Pop” Robson on board, his scouting abilities improve year by year, and if he finds us another James MacLean he’ll be almost a legend! Far be it for me to tell you who to buy, I’m sure that you both have your own ideas and a “shopping list” to work from, but if you will accept just a little football advice from a long suffering South Shields based fan then please please DO NOT sign any “talent” from the Australian Football League, a place where the two top stars are Harry Kewell and Michael Bridges.
South Shields hosts another “record breaker!”
This is becoming a bad joke, little more than a publicity stunt, even CBBC cameras and crews were in attendance as the Great North Dog Walk organised by Tony Carlisle set about bursting the Guinness World Record once again. Am I the only one in South Tyneside who finds the figures rather less than credible? Am I the only one in South Shields asking the right questions at the wrong time?
I’d like to know just why these numbers are apparently going up and up year after year, yet the event looks only a little larger to me, and the crowds and tents have all dispersed by late afternoon. I was down on the Leas this morning to photograph the start of the Great North Dog Walk 2012 which now claims to have more dogs taking part than the first Great North Runs organised by Brendan Foster, yet I parked easily behind the Bamburgh, as far as I am aware there were no extra Metros or buses today, there were no road closures at all, and nobody to police such a huge gathering, no safety stewards or metal barriers. The start line did not stretch a mile and a half and the first participants passed by my camera in little more than twenty minutes. I’d like to know if anyone either in South Tyneside Council or close to Mr. Carlisle has any interest in trying to answer the questions that I have posed in previous years.
I guess someone thinks that the publicity factor is good to have at the start of summer, it puts South Shields on the map and makes a news story for a few outlets which lasts for a couple of days and if all of the money that is claimed to be raised is going to good local causes then hip hip hooray!
However I estimated that around 3000 dogs at most walked by in that first hour, and so to realise figures of over 24000 would need that rate of participation to be sustained until at least 6:00 pm and clearly it was not, do we really need to be accepting these claims without scrutiny?
The questions that I posed last year:
- How do the organisers confirm how many dogs take part on the day?
- Is there any involvement by any official from Guinness World Records Ltd on the day, and on site, to validate the “world record” claim?
- How much does the event cost to organise and run?
- How much sponsorship is raised and from whom?
- How much money is raised for charities and which charities benefit?
- Are any accounts published, and where can the public read them?
A comment left last year by Steve G:
Curly, originally, was querying whether the reportage of the Great North Dog Walk was accurate.
The claims made suggest there were over 22700 dogs on the Leas on Sunday over a three or four hour period.
This equates to 5600 dogs on the Leas at any given hour.
For the sake of argument there is one dog owner with each dog.
Curly is simply pointing out that given the amount traffic this mass attendance would create – are the claims made in the Gazette true?
Bearing in when I was jogging, a few years ago now, the figures for people running the Great North Run was around the 18000 figure – less than the dog walk. This involved road closures along the Leas, additional public transport, police attendance, stewarding etc.
The Great North Dog Walk should have been decidedly noticeable and quite frankly it was not. Not this year, not last year or previous years.
The video of last year on the Great North Dog Walk (on the website) does not appear to show the crowds that 16000 or so dogs would require last year.
If the number of dogs attending is exaggerated, then logically, so is the amount raised for charity. How can this sum be checked? It is only an estimate. Though £45 per dog per walk, since inception, seems achievable.
The Guinness Book of World Records website gives no indication of how the numbers involved are validated. In fact in the 2010 video neither the owners nor the dogs appeared to be allocated numbers as per the Great North Run. As the picture in tonight’s (14th. June 2011) Gazette confirms – how are the numbers checked and entrance fees collected?
Does this event show the borough in a positive and record breaking way?
Well, it was not reported in the Sunderland Echo, nor the Evening Chronicle – I did not check the Journal. So only we know about it!!
I am not concerned over the relatively small amount this event received from the council, what I am concerned about is that there appears to be little or no accountability regarding this small and many other larger amounts distributed by our council.
Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.
Also, I am getting tired of the Gazettes inaccurate reporting or rather the reprinting of other peoples press releases. But that is another issue in itself.
I hope my pictures show that these numbers require answers to the questions, they were all shot between 10:00 and 11:00 am this morning.
A great day out for families and pooches, Deputy Mayor Ernie Gibson showed true bulldog spirit manfully and doggedly reading through his speech as the wind tried to whippet away, but you’d have to be pretty barking to believe that this is a Great North Run sized event which one day may end up spilling egg on our chins with some explaining to do!
This picture shows a small section of the crowd at the start line of the 1982 Great North Run when 20000 people competed, call me hard to please if you wish, but I’m not convinced that we saw anything like these numbers at the Great North Dog Walk.
Here is a section of the crowd at the Great North Dog walk
Cllr. Potts’ “personal friend” Mercedes Ashley didn’t seem very aware of who he is!
I was intrigued and curious, after all how many of our South Tyneside councillors count porn stars amongst their “personal friends?
From The Shields Gazette
“I have not encouraged former porn stars to contact my ward colleagues.
“I asked a personal friend, who is a former adult entertainment professional, to e-mail Coun Jeff Milburn congratulating him on his victory.
“I do not in any way judge people by what they do for a living.”
I thought it worthwhile having a little discussion of my own with Cllr. Potts “friend”, it took a while to track down an email address, but here is the exchange:
Whats his twitter handle? Love, Mercedes Ashley (your adult film star & friend) WEBSITE & PICS: www.mercedesashley.com MY ONLINE PRESENCE: http://itsmyurls.com/mercedesashley MY E-MAIL/BLACKBERRY: firstname.lastname@example.org TWITTER: www.twitter.com/mercedesashley PRIVATE SESSIONS/FEMM DOMM SESSIONS (L.A./VEGAS ONLY): 877-413-6085 BACHELOR PARTIES (L.A./VEGAS ONLY): 714-448-8529 LIVE TECH SUPPORT/PASSWORD HELP: 800-574-4757 WEBSITE DESIGN: email@example.com WEBSITE DESIGN WEBSITE: www.mercedesashleyfx.com FYI: All emails are answered by Mercedes Ashley personally. I am my own webmaster. I am the designer of my own site and I maintain it all myself. -----Original Message----- From: Curly <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Sun, 20 May 2012 09:57:48 To: <email@example.com> Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: David Potts May I ask how well do you know UK/US foreign exchange dealer and UKIP politician David Potts? He claims you are a personal friend Have you met him? Have you spoke with him? Have you had any contact with him other than via Twitter as one of your followers?
Doesn’t look as though she knows him that well at all, cannot even think of his name on Twitter! Neither does it appear that Mercedes is a former porn star, her websites give the appearance of giving very current services and activities.
You have to feel a bit sorry for Conservative councillor Jeff Milburn getting his name dragged into this nonsense, I wonder if he actually received any congratulations from the American Adult Entertainment industry?
UKIP Cleadon and East Village councillor invited constituent to “social gatherings”
I have today been contacted by the Gazette asking if I invited a constituent to a “bunga bunga” party.
Whilst I admit that I did do so, I was entirely unaware of the potentially negative connotations the phrase may hold. It is a term used regularly in my company to refer to casual social gatherings. Not sex parties as has been alleged.
I will not use the term again as clearly some misunderstand its meaning.
For further detail on the conversation thread please see Cllr. Potts Twitter stream
I’m so out of touch I thought it was a ship!
20% rise for South Tyneside cabinet members described as “slight”
OK, so the full amount in the pot has not changed, but this comment by Cllr. Iain Malcolm the Leader of South Tyneside Council is simply flabbergasting:
Because cabinet members are now expected to attend more meetings, their allowance rises slightly.
In these days where the average lucky employed person has to settle for a rise of 2% or less, and shareholders are at last rebelling against corporate pay rises as large as 4.8%, this award seems designed to cause an uproar with news being revealed just days after a strong election victory. This is simply bad politics, a faux pas on the level displayed by the coalition government on almost a daily basis.
How on earth Cllr. Malcolm believes this will sit comfortably with the people of South Shields and Jarrow is beyond me, the independent panel appears to have taken some money from the leader of the (heavily defeated) opposition and doled it out to Labour’s favourite sons, I guess they are hoping that this will all be forgotten about over the next two years – the next time any councillors face an election around here.
I will forgive these cabinet members for accepting this grotesque increase in special responsibility allowance only if they can maintain their financial stewardship and deliver NO council tax increases before the next local government election, that will be fair payment for results don’t you think?
Of course they are!
“We are all in this together” may have been the most prophetic words uttered by Conservative Leader David Cameron following the post crash demise of the last Labour government, leaving an economy in tatters and the whole of Europe drowning in debt after the sage advice of Brown and Obama to governments and central banks to borrow more and print more money to keep the world floating happily along towards oblivion. Cameron’s words were meant to galvanise public opinion as we entered an age of austerity to tackle the worldwide mountains of debt and return the UK to a “balanced budget” after the profligacy of the Brown/Blair years, yet after two budgets from the coalition government the achievment of that aim does not seem to be approaching with any speed.
We had just gone through a Parliament awash with excess, the MPs expenses scandal had left a very nasty taste in the mouth and the reforms put in place have not done an awful lot to assuage public anger and resentment at what politicians are perceived to be doing with their time and our money, the News International phone hacking revelations and the subsequent Leveson inquiry will probably also confirm the public’s suspicions that our politicians are easy to influence and are seen to be far too close to some journalists and newspaper proprietors for the sake of good honest and open public governance.
Having taken what they think is statesmanlike stances during their years in office it may seem unedifying to some that former holders of great office now hawk themselves around on the world’s stage making an absolute fortune and banking their income not in a personal account, but into the account of a privately owned company specifically set up to reduce their liability to pay the full rate of UK tax. Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, and South Shields MP David Miliband all operate such companies and manage to reduce their tax liabilities by sums that some of us may never manage to earn in a year. Don’t get me wrong, we should all praise success, but if we are all in this together we should all be paying our fair share of taxes.
This “being in it together” though, is now becoming a catch phrase of the left, perhaps Cameron may regret having uttered those words in the first place, there are many who would just love to push them back down his throat, and if they have a reasoned cogent argument then why not? Trouble is, some are none too careful about republishing these words, take for example the septuagenarian Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart, invited by David Miliband to deliver one of his South Shields lectures:
“I have nothing but contempt for the expression ‘we’re all in this together.
That’s bullshit – we’re not all in this together,”
“The members of the cabinet are not in the same position as the people who live near me in Bermondsey. What we have seen is not so much a response to a global crisis but Tory policies as usual, masquerading under the claim of necessity.”
Putting aside the fallibility of memory, Stewart seems to miss the response to the UK crisis as well as missing the point on worldwide debt reduction, it does not look or sound so good bleating about the phrase “we are in this together” when one has resided in such luxurious surroundings as these in California:
Picture via Guido Fawkes
The lofty left certainly do not so sound so chummy and down to earth when their wealth is revealed, the folks of Queensferry, Westoe, Trimdon, or Bermondsey must be choking with contempt at any politician/actor (hard to tell the difference with Tony Blair) talking about “being in it together”.
Beam me up Scotty, I want to be in it together with you :-)
30 strong Labour entourage tour ward for votes
Yes, you can tell that the local elections will soon be upon us, as news reaches this desk that a large throng of Labour party members joined South Shields MP David Miliband in banging doors and canvassing support in Splott!
The globe trotting tourist and mega earning former Foreign Secretary was once again filling his spare time with another activity in a part of the world remote from South Shields, but look on the bright side, without this news we would never have heard of Splott!
“Having a recognizable face such as David Miliband turn up at your doorstep making an effort makes a huge difference.”
Much more of this and his face will become almost unrecognizable in his own constituency. I’m sure the comedienne Jo Brand must have had a joke up her sleeve about it when she was invited to give the South Shields lecture.
Splott the MP!
Council amongst group who wish to see discount abolished.
Currently, if you are a single person living in a household you are entitled to a 25% reduction on your council tax bill, presumably because you make far fewer demands on your local council in areas such as waste collection, water and sewerage, education, library services, care services etc. A household with two adults or more, or with a number of wage earners will make greater demands on these services and can justifiably be charged the full rate.
Now some councils want this automatic discount to be abolished to help them increase their revenues from council tax, and amongst those deemed to favour ” widow’s tax” according to Eric Pickles, is South Tyneside.
“There is clearly a well-orchestrated campaign being run by the Labour Party to target the elderly, single mothers and the most vulnerable,” Mr Pickles said.
“They want to punish people who have worked hard all their lives and paid their taxes simply because they live on their own. There is a gross sense of injustice at raising taxes that could force people out of their homes. This is a widows tax and shows how out of touch Labour is.”
In it’s submission to the consultative government body South Tyneside Council said it would be
“easier to collect an increase in council tax as a result of a discount being withdrawn from someone who can afford it than someone on benefit who can’t”.
Not sure that I see the logic in that argument of course, there must be hundreds of widows, single pensioners, single young people, or single mothers in South Shields whose earning capabilities are far smaller than those of the larger family next door. I also personally know many South Shields folks single, or living with family, who cannot achieve the same aspirations of some on benefits despite going out to work and earning a living!
There are times when the thinking of South Tyneside Council is so far “out of the box” that it is imaginable that the box once belonged to a magician.
Labour’s Iain Malcolm in odd statement
Cllr. Iain Malcolm, Labour’s Leader of South Tyneside District council is quoted today as saying:
“We have been able to reduce council tax year on year since I become leader.”
Has a year been missed out of my life? Have I been in a state of cryogenic suspended animation on another planet? Did they deliberately miss me out?
I have lived in South Shields all of my life, and as far as I can recall during the history of paying council tax on South Tyneside my bill has only ever gone up (or last year stayed the same thanks to the Coalition government), can someone please tell me which year during Iain Malcolm’s leadership that it was reduced?
Every time that South Tyneside Council had a “consultation exercise” on its website about council taxes I was offered a choice of four different levels of increases, never once was I offered the choice of a freeze or a reduction.
Has the “dear Leader” been terribly misquoted or has he become temporarily deluded into thinking he has become a tax cutting Tory after successfully squeezing the council’s budget?
It didn’t help that “Dave’s” coalition government and the Opposition sort of joined forces to whip their MPs to vote against giving us a new referendum on our relationship with the EU, after all it is a totally different beast to the one which we last had a say about in 1973. The idea that people could register their ePetitions on the No. 10 website and if they had enough support (over 100000 signatures) they would result in a debate in the House of Commons is essentially a good one, especially as there are, from time to time, issues where it seems our MPs might be slightly out of tune with the public. However, a second petition relating to the price of petrol will apparently NOT be debated because of a lack of time in the Parliamentary calendar! Come on Dave, your government is devaluing the importance of these petitions if you cannot find time to debate them.
I profoundly disagreed too with the whole “solution” to the Eurozone crisis, this managed default of the Greek debts is a signal of much worse to come, we have spent the last two years throwing more debt at the Greeks and the Irish with other economies also being drip fed bail out funding, and let’s not forget how much was borrowed by Gordon Brown to increase the liquidity of British Banks either, I fail to see how you can solve anyone’s debts by piling more debt upon them! But we are led by the (European) nose to help create a 1.2 trillion Euro fund to assist member states who cannot manage to spend around the same amount that they earn in revenue. Surely a result of the Brown/Obama plan to solve the banking crisis,
invest spend your way out of trouble! Italy, Spain and Portugal will be next to feel the pressure of the mountain of Eurobond debts, as once again we see economies that are introducing austerity measures rather late in the day to balance their books. If we ran our household budgets in this way we would soon be looking towards a voluntary bankruptcy! Which brings us to the UK, where we too have come to realise, late in the day, that our national debts and budget deficit needed to be urgently addressed, and despite the efforts of the coalition government to bring public spending under control, those debts continue to rise and public spending continues to be a massive burden, George Osborne tells us that we are not contributing much to the European Stabilising mechanism but with deft sleight of hand we are increasing our contributions to the IMF instead, any wonder that we fail to meet spending targets? The hand of Brussels lies heavily upon the decisions made by our politicians and the whole mess has the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel musing over the future peace of Europe, possibly a rather far fetched view in my opinion, but it shapes the ridiculous writing in some of our newspapers this weekend.
Solution, allow the Eurozone to collapse and let member states reintroduce their own floating currencies, allowing a managed default based upon the exchange rate of the remaining Euro at the time of conversion to the new currency. Tell these member states that the European Central Bank will not be bailing them out in future, perhaps then we might see some fresh starts and some growth slowly emanating from the ashes, this whole sorry affair of the last week has been more about saving the single currency and the European dream of political unity more than it has been about saving the economies of individual member states, and by playing their own small part our coalition government has nailed its flag to the mast as a lukewarm supporter of European integration. I firmly believe that ALL British politicians were wrong, wrong, wrong, not to allow their MPs a free vote during the EU debate, and that sometime in the far future the EU will collapse as a result of its utopian political and economic dreams.
Next disagreement is with Iain Malcolm, the Leader of South Tyneside Council who wrote in the Guardian during the week that councils were taking the flak for the government’s spending cuts. Was this a paid for article Iain? Anyway, pretty good at playing politics, perhaps the first stage in an election strategy for next May blaming the evil wicked Tories and Lib Dems for wreaking misery on us all but good old Labour in South Tyneside has managed to produce a budget which will not increase your council tax for e second year in succession! Can you see it coming? It may have been better and more honest of him to admit that Labour frittered away £ billions when in office, and saddled us with larger debts than we accrued through fighting the Second World War, perhaps he should have done a Liam Byrne and admitted that the cupboard was bear at the end of Gordon Brown’s tenure. He said:
The government’s cuts are brutal and ideological. Our task isn’t just to protect residents from the worst effects – it is to make them fully appreciate whose hand is on the axe.
Brutal? Idealogical? What then would Alistair Darling’s cuts have been described as if Labour had won the last election? There is no doubt that you could hardly have passed a cigarette paper between Labour and the Tories public spending pronouncements at the time, £2 bn difference within a national debt amounting to £1.2 tn is minuscule. That is where I find my disagreement with the Leader of the Council, a fair lack of honesty and a total lack of clarity over who put us all in the financial mess that we are in, he was quite happy to accept the cash that Gordon Brown’s government kept producing, quite happy to keep increasing council taxes year after year when even Brown’s largesse was deemed as insufficient. He knows, I know, and we know, that the party had to come to an end.
Because it doesn’t have to be like this. Local government has been a force for good in Britain. We will work to defend our communities by examining new and innovative models of service delivery – through trusts and co-operatives, asset transfers to the voluntary sector, strategic partnerships with the private sector or more joint working between councils.
Ah, now here are the clever little secret caveats, we WILL do it the way the coalition wants, because we DO want to make sure that there will be no increase in council taxes again! Look, yes, I know and understand that it is tough going, with very difficult spending decisions to make, but I also know that we knew this latest tranche of cuts was coming, it was NOT a complete shock,we knew twelve months ago that the “front loading” was only the first phase, this is probably the press release was made by Martin Swales rather than a Labour politician. Please take time to look again at the Gazette article, because therein lies another disagreement, some fool writing in the comments section reckons we somehow managed in the past without a Chief Executive, beats me how this sort of stuff gets into some minds. No council could be administered without a manager at the top, it matters not what he/she is titled, Chief Officer, Chief Executive, Director, or Town Clerk, we have always had a one!
Finally car parking in South Shields, perhaps one of my hobby horses, I wrote at the time of the introduction of the first “pay and display” areas in Beach Road, South Shields that it would not necessarily kill off the town centre, but also warned that it was the thin end of the wedge and that Town Hall bosses would soon extend the pay and display schemes to other areas, and I was right. I published a picture showing Beach Road populated with parked cars using the new meters, more recent evidence suggests they are not quite so popular now, for instance I can never remember seeing Beach Road so empty opposite the Town Hall, yet places such as Derby Street, Claypath Lane, and back Westoe Road are totally choked! There are even decent amounts of spaces in the town centre car parks since the charging scheme was amended, 1p per minute for just one hour is simply not giving the average shopper sufficient time, the 1p per minute charge should extend to the first two hours as a good compromise. If we can go somewhere toward attracting these motorists back to the areas where they want and need to park, then we won’t be creating as many problems for local residents who see their streets choked by other motorists, then we won’t have the thorny and expensive problems of resident permit areas!
“Big society” parking operators? OK I can go along with that, but more and more “pay and display schemes” at the wrong prices and in the wrong places is now something that seems to be creating additional problems in areas where we don’t need them.
OK, end of rant, I now have a pumpkin to carve, if I can manage to get Iain Malcolm’s face on it I’ll post a picture, I seem to remember that George Elsom looked pretty ghoulish a few years ago :-)
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